On Nova Science Now on PBS last night they reported about work studying the contents of small liquid inclusions in New Mexico’s Saledo salt beds that were laid down in the Permian era 250 million years ago.
The report showed fascinating electron micrographs of mats of cellulose in the inclusions – hi-fiber salt no less!
The cellulose was identified by it resistance to hydrolysis in 0.5 N NaOH and it susceptibility to hydrolysis by beta 1-4 specific cellulase enzymes.
So cellulose is not only the most abundant organic molecule on the earth, it is now the oldest identified macromolecule. Not bad for a bunch of glucose.
can be seen in its entirety at this link.
The researchers, Jack D. Griffith, Smaranda Willcox, Dennis W. Powers, Roger Nelson, & Bonnie K. Baxter published the work in Astrobiology in April 2008 (Griffith et al 2008 Astrobiology 8 (2): 215-228. doi:10.1089/ast.2007.0196. Discovery of Abundant Cellulose Microfibers Encased in 250 Ma Permian Halite: A Macromolecular Target in the
Search for Life on Other Planets)..
No image – because the copyright holders want to charge a USD$86.50 fee for use of ONE image from the paper just in A SINGLE email, let alone what they’d charge for a blog, notwithstanding the free advertising they’re getting.
You need to go to the PBS site for the electron micrographs.